Ryan Dunn, a star of MTV's Jackass franchise, was a familiar face to patrons of West Chester watering holes. And although the 34-year-old West Chester transplant enjoyed defying death for the camera, he was described as the antithesis of his daredevil persona when the film wasn't rolling.
Sean Maloney, 24, of West Chester, said he would see Dunn on the street or in bars, especially when the Phillies were playing. "He was such a big Phillies fan," Maloney said, adding that Dunn always had time for his fans, often buying them drinks or signing autographs. "He was a regular guy," not someone who put on Hollywood airs, despite his success on shows like "Viva la Bam" and "Homewrecker."
Dunn's friends said he did like fast cars, but they called him a skilled driver, someone with racing experience who was unlikely to make a mistake behind the wheel. That belief made Dunn's death in a fiery crash on Monday much harder to bear, friends said.
Police said Dunn was traveling at least 130 mph in his Porsche 911 GT3 at 2:38 a.m. when he veered off the Route 322 bypass, crashing through a guardrail, toppling trees and sheering off branches as the car broke apart and became engulfed in flames.
Dunn and his passenger, Zac Hartwell, 30, of West Chester, died of thermal and blunt trauma, the coroner said. Friends, many of whom congregated at The Note, a West Chester nightspot, have been visibly distraught. Fans have flooded the crash site, prompting police to set up a traffic-calming presence to ensure everyone's safety.
The Note is co-owned by Brandon "Bam" Margera, described by many as Dunn's best friend. "Those two were like Rowan & Martin," said Margera's mother, April, likening the pair to the creators of Laugh-In, a popular late-'60s TV show. "We're all reeling."